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Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

This book has been on my to-read list since I first heard about it. I was drawn in by curiosity about the people who create the shows we watch and that having an entire evening of TV being dedicated to shows lead by one show-runner is a major deal. The Shonda-land shows are filled with tough, powerful, outspoken women and yet Rhimes impresses on readers that a few years ago this was not reflected in her own life. In the Year of Yes, Rhimes speaks openly about how a simple comment from her sister made her take on a project of saying yes to many things, first and foremost being the things that scared her.
As a writer she calls her process as one similar to that of her childhood adventures playing in the store cupboard of her mother's kitchen, sitting in the dark and coming up with characters and stories, finding strength there. She talks about how she wrote the strong characters of her TV shows, particularly Cristina Yang, as a form of wish fulfilment. Rhimes classifies herself as an introvert and although that doesn't change she works on finding a way to engage with the people and challenges around her.

Rhimes starts the year by saying yes to a speech at her alma mater, Dartmouth, and describes her absolute physical terror at doing this. She details it, describes the aftermath and survives. She also throws in a ference to EBAs, a restaurant in Hanover NH,  which thrilled me as I celebrated a birthday there many, many years ago. Over the course of the book we see Rhimes' life, which is already packed with impressive things and people, grow more open and her confidence increase. I found the conversational tone of the book  very engaging but what surprised me was how unashamedly goofy it was at times. There was a great deal of comedy but it served to show how to brave the challenging stuff.  Standing in front of a crowd, all staring at you and expecting pearls of wisdom? Rhimes was worried about soiling herself and tripping over. Over the course of the year, Rhimes faces things head on and sees the benefit of doing this. This is probably a book that I will go back and read again as it was a very entertaining. 


4/5 Stars

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